Last week, AT&T announced it was spinning off its Warner Media division into a company that will merge with Discovery. At about the same time, Amazon spent more than $8 billion to acquire MGM. Disney acquired Lucasfilms and Marvel for $4 billion a piece over 10 years ago and has reaped tremendous benefits from those deals.
AT&T fought a long antitrust battle to buy Time Warner–now, only 2 years later, they’re dumping Warner Media at a discount. Why do some mega deals work and some fizzle out?
Management consultant Peter Drucker said culture eats strategy for lunch. The best laid plans are sidetracked by cultures that are incompatible or create conflict in the workplace. The cultures of HBO, Time Warner, and AT&T were all very different. Putting them under one corporate banner didn’t build the expected synergy.
But you don’t need a big merger to create culture issues. Different functional groups have different cultures and often they don’t mesh well together. There are cultural differences among geographies as well.
Now, there’s another element to consider: how cultures have changed as a result of the pandemic. Some groups have been able to work from home and love it–some don’t. Some have not been able to work remotely and resent those who do. Some businesses, like Delta Airlines, are requiring employees to be vaccinated–some refuse to even ask the question.
Culture exists, whether we acknowledge it or not. The question is are you working to understand yours and to develop a culture that works effectively–or are you ignoring culture at your peril?
It may be the difference between playing a winning hand–or folding early.
Contact me to find out how you can get heard above the noise–even in a crisis situation.
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